Voters approve new Mindanao province
Cotabato City (1 November) -- Voters in Maguindanao's 29 municipalities have approved the creation of a new province to be composed of 10 towns, the Commission on Elections (Comelec)here said.
Of Maguindanao's more than 500,000 registered voters, 285,372 approved the creation of Shariff Kabunsuan province. Only 8,802 voted against the proposal, Usi said.
The new province, carved out of Maguindanao, is composed of the towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Sultan Mastura, Parang, Buldon, Matanog and Barira.
It is the sixth province in the ARMM and the country's 80th.
"(ARMM Regional) Governor (Zaldy) Ampatuan will soon name the officials who will run the affairs of Shariff Kabunsuan," engineer Norie Unas, Maguindanao provincial administrator, told the Inquirer.
Ampatuan signed Regional Legislative Assembly Bill No. 445, seeking the creation of the new province, on September 7. This paved the way for the plebiscite.
The new province is named after an Arab-Malay Islamic preacher who introduced Islam to Central Mindanao in the 14th century.
Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan originally pushed for the creation of the new province to decentralize governance and maximize development in poor Muslim communities, most of which have been areas of armed conflict for decades.
Under Republic Act 9054, the regional government has the power to create barangays, municipalities, and provinces within the region, subject to a plebiscite. (PIA) [top]